A Call for
a Peacemaking Task Force, 1993
Mennonite Church USA
Our affirmation of the statement, Peace in Our Time, grows out
of our commitment to follow Christ's way of peace. Building on
this statement, the following proposal is now made.
Ethnic clashes are on the increase.
Regional wars translate into widespread destruction and suffering.
Mennonite professor and Balkan specialist, Gerald Shenk, recently
completed a six month peacemaking assignment with religious leaders
from Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. He says Christians from the
region are calling for help in peacemaking efforts. Trainers
in mediation are needed to teach in schools across the land.
Young people's camps which are engaged in reconciliation efforts
need staffing. Refugee repatriation, counseling for broken families,
care of orphans, and victims of rape trauma are additional areas
of immediate need.
Members of other groups and denominations
are turning to us, the Mennonite Church, for leadership in developing
and implementing alternatives to violence. We as a church are
already engaged in ground-breaking work in this area. But as
the world changes so too our strategy for peacemaking needs to
We propose that in the next six
months a peacemaking task force be formed by representatives
from Mennonite agencies such as Mennonite Conciliation Services,
Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Board of Missions, Eastern
Mennonite Missions, and Christian Peacemaker Teams.
The task force should asses services
already available and develop a coordinated plan for responding
to violent conflict. The plan should include strategies for diffusion
of tension that could lead to war, alternatives to violence in
current conflicts and response to victims of war in places such
as Bosnia, Angola, Somalia, Haiti, Israel/Palestine. These efforts
should be focused by a commitment to join in solidarity in peacemaking
work of local Christians in the conflict settings.
Approved by Mennonite
Church General Assembly July 30, 1993, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
Proceedings, p. 40.
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